FromQuarkstoQuasars

Astronomy Picture of the Day: 02/19/14 – The Scorpion Diamond Factory

Image Credit; ESO
Image Credit; ESO

This brand-spanking new image captures the large blots of celestial diamonds that are scattered about a neighboring star cluster, called Messier 7. The diamonds themselves are actually high-mass stars — a collection of them that can be found approximately 800 light-years from Earth in the Scorpion constellation.

Overall, the region contains an upward of 100 stars all in a similar phase of stellar evolution –that extend about 25 light-years across. Along with being utterly beautiful in every single way, the cluster also signals chaos. You see, in the not-so-distant future, all of the stars that currently inhabit the region will go supernova within a similar frame of time. So as beautiful as it is now, it’s a reminder that the universe runs in a seemingly never-ending cycle. Stars are born, stars live, stars die and the circle remains unbroken. At least it does until regions home to numerous stars exhaust all of the ripe materials for star formation. However, by the looks of it, this region will continue to have an abundance of material for the foreseeable future.

Scientifically, astronomers find regions such as this one important. Since the stars are of similar size, age, luminosity and composition, they provide a window into the inner-workings of star formation. Additionally, they help us verify that our current models are on track.

See the press release here, or take a virtual video tour.

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